Ellen's Ideas about Historic Costume

I have some ideas of the areas of historic clothing I?d like to know about, I just haven?t narrowed it down or found that perfect topic.

My interests are mainly on
  1. 19th and 20th century clothing and its relation to American popular culture. 
  2. Why and what people wore. 
  3. Who set the standards and ideas?
  4. Impacts of advertising and media pressure. 
  5. Why did women where life threatening corsets, etc?
These are 5 or 6 different questions, Ellen. 
You might have to pick one and go with it.

I am also a huge American history fan, though I have a lot to learn, this is what interests me the most.
 Things I can somewhat relate to, knowing someone most likely related to me or is still living experienced these things. 
The little interesting tidbits of info are what I love to learn about.
So far that?s all I have, I am constantly looking for ideas, so far no luck.

So here's an idea.
Go with the relationship between popular culture and fashion for women in the 19th century.
This is way too general, and would likely result in a 300 pound thesis unless you pare down a lot and focus on an article of clothing or two.
I've noticed that sometimes fashion theses are about "the use of fans as fashion", "dress forms", and interestingly "corsets" was the subject of a recent UA thesis, I believe, just in the last 2 years or so

I'm intrigued by this popular culture relationship to fashion - as a driving force.
You could concentrate on advertising techniques - and content analyze a sample of print adverts for some fashion element, or better yet compare advertising techniques from the 19th and 21st centuries on something - corsets certainly have a different appeal today compared to before.  Girdles always seemed ridiculous but were a popular item.

I've also been interested in how women's bodies have been reformed as fashion waves took hold:
http://wetzel.psych.rhodes.edu/223webproj/bodyimage/default.html
http://www.genderads.com/
http://www.frankaboutwomen.com/mission.php
http://medialit.med.sc.edu/adswomen.htm
http://www.aef.com/on_campus/symposia/2003/index.html
http://www.questia.com/library/communication/media-studies/media-images-of-women.jsp
http://www.library.uiuc.edu/adexhibit/women.htm
http://scriptorium.lib.duke.edu/eaa/index.html
and finally http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/rbpehtml/pehome.html

My interests are mainly on
  1. 19th and 20th century clothing and its relation to American popular culture. 
  2. Why and what people wore. 
  3. Who set the standards and ideas?
  4. Impacts of advertising and media pressure. 
  5. Why did women where life threatening corsets, etc?